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EAW Letter to Colin Powell

May 30th, 2003 - by admin

by EAW Asks US to Act Quickly to Address Environmental Impacts of US Invasion –

http://www.envirosagainstwar.org

Hon. Colin L. Powell 5 May 2003
Secretary of State
US State Department
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Powell:

Now that Baghdad has fallen and the US is preparing to assume the responsibilities of nation-building, our global coalition of more that 100 environmental organizations is appealing to you to pay heed to repairing the environment that the invasion has visited on the land, water and citizens of Iraq.

As you well understand, it is critical that the restoration of water, electricity and food distribution services be given the same level of support that has brought about the revival of the damaged oil wells in the Rumailah field.

Once food, power and water is restored, the ransacked hospitals and civil services must be repaired and re-equipped with modern medical tools and a full store of badly needed medicines.

There is much work to be done but, once the survival needs of Iraq’s urban dwellers are met, a major effort must be made to address the lingering environmental and social damage caused by Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Desert Storm, the Iraq-Iran War and 12 years of sporadic US/UK bombings and unrelieved economic sanctions.

As United Nations Environment Programme Director Klaus Toepfer reminds us, “Environmental protection is a humanitarian issue.” While the consequences of the invasion of Iraq were not as grave as many NGOs had predicted, in some ways, the environmental damage exceeded our worst fears.

In the 1991 war, Kuwait and Iraq were bombarded with about 340 tons of depleted uranium contained in shells, rockets and bombs. On April 29, The Guardian Weekly reported that experts had calculated the amount of DU used by the coalition forces in this latest campaign ranged “between 1,000 and 2,000 tons.”

On April 28, UNEP released a “desk study” report on the environmental status of Iraq. Study Chair Pekka Haavisto concluded that “many environmental problems are so alarming that an immediate assessment and a clean-up plan are needed urgently.” Further, Haavisto urges, “The environment must be fully integrated into all reconstruction plans if the country is to achieve a strong and sustainable recovery.”

Among the concerns expressed in the UNEP report are the following:
• Lasting damage from the intentional destruction of Iraq’s municipal water supply and water treatment facilities in the 1991 war.
• The intensive use of depleted uranium weapons throughout the battlefield.
• Bombing of military and industrial targets, which released toxic chemicals into the land, air and water.
• The widespread use of military weaponry that has left the country littered with deadly debris and unexploded ordnance.
• Smoke from urban trench-fires and burning oil wells have polluted both the southern regions and the capital city.
• Bombs and the movement of hundreds of heavy armored vehicles have seriously degraded natural and agricultural resources in the ground invasion’s 300-plus-mile advance from the port of Umm Qasr to Baghdad.

EAW shares these concerns and we support the list of remedial recommendations that UNEP has put forward. These include:
• Restoring all water and sanitation systems to state-of-the-art performance.
• Working within a UN framework to create an effective system of sustainable environmental management strategies.
• Building strong and independent national institutions for safeguarding the environment and human health.
• Encouraging Iraq to ratify critical international treaties regarding the protection of the natural and social environment.
• Convening an international team of experts to conduct field missions to assess the status of hazardous waste emissions, water-resource management and ecosystem restoration.
• Integrating environment protection goals into the post-conflict clean-up and restoration process.
• Employing the most environmentally friendly technologies in reconstruction work.
• Conducting a scientific assessment of all sites struck with DU weapons.
• Distributing clear warnings and guidelines for people who might come in contact with the remnants of DU weapons.
• Mounting a scientific assessment of all sites contaminated by the use of DU weapons.

EAW is requesting, under the Freedom of Information Act, the release of the Pentagon’s targeting lists for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pentagon officials have stated that 10,000 targets were removed from earlier versions because the sites were judged to lie too close to cultural, archeological or civilian resources.

EAW is asking the Pentagon to release, at the earliest possible moment, a complete list of all targets hit — including the impact damage for weapons that missed their intended targets — and a full inventory of all the types of weapons used in this assault.

EAW believes that excessive force was employed to gain the announced military goal. This could, in itself, be a violation of the Geneva Accords’ theory of proportionality. In several cases, attempts were made to assassinate Iraqi officials with multiple bunker-buster bombs, In one case, four 2,000-pound JDAMs were dropped in an attempt to kill one individual.

It has been reported that the Tomahawk cruise missile — one of our “smartest” high-tech weapons — has a failure rate of ten percent. If 700 of these cruise missiles were launched against Iraq during the March-April war, that would mean that 70 Tomahawks would have been expected to crash and explode in non-target areas. EAW would encourage the Pentagon to move expeditiously to publish an accurate report on the performance of the rockets and missiles used in this campaign.

EAW is especially concerned about the Pentagon’s continued use of depleted uranium weapons, since these devices constitute a form of radiological warfare. The use of DU weapons has been subject to international condemnation for violating established treaties on the conduct of war. EAW believes, as does the European Union, that DU weapons should be banned.

On April 24, The Royal Society (Britain’s national science academy) called on coalition forces to reveal — quickly and completely — how many DU weapons were fired and where they were used. In the 1991 war, about 340 tons of DU were used. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years, this is pollution that will last “forever.” And now, even more DU has been added to the burden of eternity.

As Professor Brian Spratt, chair of the Royal Society’s DU working group, observes: “It is highly unsatisfactory to deploy a large amount of material that is weakly radioactive and chemically toxic without knowing how much soldiers and civilians have been exposed to it.” Spratt emphasizes the importance of monitoring exposure and insists that “It is vital that this monitoring takes place… within a matter of months.”

The Royal Society notes that soldiers and civilians exposed to DU-laden dust may “suffer kidney damage and an increased risk of lunk cancer.” The Society was also concerned that the heavily contaminated soil around DU impact sites “may be harmful if swallowed by children.”

EAW joins the Royal Society in setting the following demands:
• Inventory the use of DU weapons and identify all impact sites.
• Isolate and then clean up all sites, removing embedded DU shells that could degrade and contaminate groundwater. Pay special attention to cleaning up the impact sites in residential areas.
• Undertake long-term monitoring of contamination in water and milk.
• Monitor DU in urine samples of both exposed and unexposed soldiers and civilians to more clearly assess long-term health risks.
• Engage an experienced organization like UNEP to begin the monitoring process but assure that Iraq acquires an independent ability to take over long-term monitoring and health studies.

EAW also shares the concern of Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency that, despite assurances from Washington, US troops failed to secure the nuclear facility at Tuwaitha. As a result, the radioactive materials stored at this and several other sites in Iraq have been looted. At worst, the stolen material could be used by terrorists to fabricate a “dirty” bomb. In the meantime, hundreds of Iraqi civilians face the risk of exposure to this radioactively contaminated material.

EAW encourages you and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to take immediate action to see that the US military properly secures and safeguards all military, commercial and industrial sites that may contain materials that are radioactive, toxic, chemically reactive, or biochemically active.

Secretary Powell, as a former military man, you are certainly aware that nearly two-thirds of the half-million men and women who served in Operation Desert Storm are now recognized by the Veterans Administration as suffering from lasting service-related illness and disability.

EAW joins with the Gulf War Veterans’ Association and other veterans’ groups in calling for extended research and medical treatment for the victims of the first Gulf War.

EAW also urges the White House and the Secretary of Defense to “support the troops” by vigorously promoting the prompt, thorough and continued testing of the men and women who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Britain’s Ministry of Defense has already offered to test all returning members of its Iraq invasion force. The testing of US personnel should begin immediately and it should continue for the rest of their lives.

EAW also urges the US to conduct a comprehensive survey of the civilian lives and property destroyed during the invasion and undertake the responsibility to rebuild damaged dwellings and compensate the victims. President Saddam Hussein, after all, made a practice of giving $10,000 to families of suicide bombers: How can the US be any less generous when it comes to assisting the families victimized by US strategic bombers?

As you have observed: “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.” There is a great deal of bad news waiting to be discovered in post-war Iraq. And, as you so rightly stated, it will not “improve with age.” Action is needed now.

Thank you for your commitment to addressing America’s treaty responsibilities to restore the life-support systems that are so critical to the survival of the Iraqi people. Restoring Iraq’s severely stressed and war-damaged damaged environment must become a large part of this obligation.

And, if Washington and the Pentagon are successful in achieving these goals in Iraq, we hope that this same expertise will begin to be applied back in the US to mitigate the record of rollbacks and environmental damage that the Bush administration has racked up over the past three years.

Sincerely,

Gar Smith, Peter Drekmeier, China Brotsky, Co-founders
Environmentalists Against War

cc: George W. Bush, Ronald Rumsfeld

The Jakarta Peace Consensus

May 30th, 2003 - by admin

by –

http://www.focusweb.org

JAKARTA (21 May 2003) — INTRODUCTION
For all the death and destruction it has caused, the United States’ invasion of Iraq has given birth to a truly amazing and historic global anti-war movement which even the New York Times was forced to call ‘the world’s other superpower.’ The undeniable significance of this movement was at no point more forcefully demonstrated than with the massive internationally coordinated marches that swept the globe last February 15.

Following one superpower’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, representatives of this other superpower immediately gathered in Jakarta to assess the current conjuncture, to chart its next plans and to plot its future strategy.

The hurriedly organized conference, held in Jakarta, Indonesia 19-21 May 2003, was open to all. Those who attended come from some of the biggest national and regional peace and justice coalitions and groupings all over the world.

This includes representatives from the Asian Peace Alliance, a broad network of anti-war organizations from all over Asia; the UK Stop the War Coalition which organized the historic demonstrations in London; United for Peace and Justice, the biggest anti-war coalition in the United States; the Italian Social Forum, key organizers of last year’s million strong anti- war march during the European Social Forum; the Istanbul No to War Coordination, which was responsible for the massive actions in Turkey; and Books not Bombs, an Australian high school student movement as well as a host of other national anti-war coalitions.

Also represented were Iraqi democracy activists, organizers of the coming World Social Forum in India, delegates from the World March of Women, Indonesian trade unions, the South Africa Anti-Privatization Forum, Greenpeace, Focus on the Global South, and Jubilee South. Also slated to attend, but not granted Indonesian visas, were delegates from Pakistan, Palestine, and an Iraqi exile from Japan.

The participants came from the following countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, East Timor, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

After three days of intense debates and discussions, the participants hammered together the “Jakarta Peace Consensus,” a declaration of unity and a specific plan of action which they have agreed to propose to the global peace and justice movements. The Consensus will be translated to Arabic, French, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesian, Italian, etc. and will be presented to the next international anti-war meeting in Evian this May 31.

THE JAKARTA CONSENSUS

DECLARATION OF UNITY
We the undersigned, peace and justice activists representing social movements and networks from 26 countries in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, Latin and North America, have come together in Jakarta, Indonesia. Over the last three days we have voiced our outrage at the escalating military aggression led by the US government, most recently against Iraq.

We declare the war and invasion of Iraq to be unjust, illegal and illegitimate and call on the international community to condemn this US-led aggression. We demand an immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq and that Iraqis be allowed to determine their future in line with the principle of self- determination. This conference calls on all governments to withhold recognition from any regime set up in Iraq by the US occupiers.

We propose to the peace and justice movements the establishment of an international Peoples’ Tribunal to pass judgement on the perpetrators of the war and investigate war crimes. The war allies must take political, moral and economic responsibility for their crimes.

This includes the payment of war reparations directly to the Iraqis, who should administer the reconstruction of their country independently of the control of foreign corporations, the World Bank, the IMF and UN. Similarly, permanent members of the UN Security Council must take responsibility for the effects of more than 10 years of sanctions. We call for the scrapping of all Iraqi debt. At the same time we note the hypocrisy of the US government in calling for this cancellation to serve its objectives, while demanding payment of onerous debts from all other developing countries.

While tanks and bombs destroyed Iraq, in nearby Palestine the US-backed Israeli armed forces continued to murder, harass and incarcerate the Palestinian people in measures reminiscent of Apartheid South Africa. We commit ourselves to the international struggle for the end of the colonial occupation of Palestine, and call for the dismantling of all Israeli settlements and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. We condemn the continued US interference in Palestine and demand the recognition of Palestinian national rights as a precondition for a just and therefore lasting peace in the region.

We see the invasion of Iraq as part of the on-going economic war against peoples of the South. Under the rules of the IMF/World Bank and WTO, our world is becoming increasingly unjust and unequal. The WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in September will be another forum at which the leaders of the imperialist world will plan their strategies. They are plunging the world into a series of wars in the quest for oil, for economic and political hegemony and to ensure the subjugation of the working class and impoverished masses.

In the name of fighting “terrorism” the US government has created the indefensible concept of pre-emptive war. Beneath this banner it has attacked Afghanistan yesterday, Iraq today, while tomorrow’s targets may be Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba or any other nation that is seen as opposing the US government’s political and economic interests.

We note with concern the growing militarization of the world, which is expressed both in open and covert wars and the proliferation of US military bases, increasing military expenditure and military operations. We also oppose acts of aggression, whether they be against the people of Aceh, Mindanao, Kashmir or Kurdistan.

In this atmosphere of militarism, police harassment of marginalized communities, migrants and ethnic minorities is escalating. We call for global disarmament. In particular we demand the decommissioning of all nuclear weapons. We support the call for the Middle East to become a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, not least in Israel, the state with the most destructive capacity.

We resolve to continue to build the international peace and justice movement, which showed its strength so dramatically on 14-16 February, 2003, where millions marched against the war in Iraq.

Our principles include building a genuine internationalism from below, where we establish a new international community based on equality and democracy. While our work is international, we will also challenge our own national governments where their policies contribute to war, militarism and neo-liberalism.

We oppose war in all forms whether open, declared, interstate war, war against social movements, economic war against the poor peoples of the world or war against political activists and opponents of the dominant order. W e aim to maintain the broadest possible unity among our diverse organizations including organizations from the Islamic community, environmental groups, and movements opposing racism and sexism.

Our work will be linked to the growing social and class movements resisting neo-liberal globalization, as war through guns and bombs is only the bloodiest expression of domination by neo-liberalism and imperialism.

We call upon all organizations, social movements and persons who share our analysis and plan of action to join our common efforts oriented towards the creation of a worldwide Solidarity Network for Global Peace at a future time, particularly during the meetings in Evian (G-8 summit), Cancun (WTO-Conference), the regional Social Forums and the next World Social Forum in Mumbai, India.

We believe that a world free of war, exploitation, inequality, poverty and repression is possible. We see the reality of this alternative visible within the growing movements of youth, women, workers, students, migrants, the unemployed, human rights and peace and justice activists and citizens who are bringing their spirit, energy and work together in the fight for genuine peace based on global justice for all the world’s peoples.

STATEMENT AND PLAN OF ACTION ON IRAQ THE US-LED INVASION AND OCCUPATION OF IRAQ IS ILLEGAL
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal judged that “To initiate war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself t he accumulated evil of the whole.”

CONSEQUENTLY, WE DEMAND An immediate end to the illegal occupation of Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom and the immediate withdrawal and removal of all foreign troops, military advisers and representatives, military equipment and armaments.

WE INSIST THAT the Iraqi people have absolute and sovereign rights to determine their own future. No occupying power has the right to violate the territorial integrity of Iraq. Any decision about the need for international assistance rests solely with the Iraqi people.

The United States and United Kingdom’s occupation of Iraq is illegal, as is any administrative authority or interim government established by the occupying forces. Therefore, any decisions made by the occupying forces or their representatives are not binding on the Iraqi people.

The UN-held Iraqi oil escrow account must not be used to foot the bill for reconstruction of the damage caused by the illegal war and UN sanctions. The funds must be held in trust for the Iraqi people until there is a legitimate and genuinely representative government.

While we strongly support independent civil society assistance to and solidarity with the Iraqi people, the United Nations and its agencies, other governments and non-governmental organizations should not serve as a cover to legitimize, or profit from, the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Humanitarian aid must not be used to support or promote the military, political and economic objectives of the occupying forces.

According to the Geneva Conventions, humanitarian assistance, aid, reconstruction and other development activities are the legal and moral responsibility of the invading and occupying forces, and they should not characterize as “aid” that which is the entitlement of the Iraqi population.

The Iraqi people have sovereignty over all natural resources and utilities. The invading and occupying forces, or their private sector proxies, have no right to make any decisions about who controls or benefits from the exploitation of natural resources or the construction and delivery of basic services and utilities.

The full costs of all reconstruction, compensation and reparations for the physical, social, economic, psychological, ecological, cultural and heritage destruction caused by the US-led invasion of Iraq must be borne by the aggressors.

Reparations for the physical, social, economic, psychological, ecological, cultural and heritage loss, damage and suffering caused by the US-imposed UN Security Council sanctions must be borne by the permanent members of the Council.

In addition, reparations must be paid to all persons who have suffered physical, economic, or psychological loss or trauma resulting from twelve years of sanctions and the 2003 invasion, based on individual and collective claims and dispensed by an independent compensation tribunal.

WE CALL FOR THE DELEGITIMATION OF THE US AND ALLIED OCCUPATION OF IRAQ
We support all moves leading towards the convening of a national congress, or constituent assembly, or any other kind of democratic self-organization to establish the legitimacy of a new Iraqi state. This process must be completely independent of the occupying forces.

We call on the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States to work to uphold international law, to end the occupation and to support the establishment of democratic self-government in Iraq.

We ask the international community and governments around the world to refuse to recognize all forms of authority or government established by and under the occupation forces.

We support the campaign initiated by the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and others to urge the UN General Assembly to request an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice regarding the illegality of the use of force against Iraq and of the doctrine of “pre-emptive war.”

We endorse the campaign calling for an international UN war crimes tribunal to try those responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We demand that all governments recognize the right of Iraqis to travel freely and to return to Iraq.

We reject the US project to create a “New Middle East Order,” including its economic arm, Bush’s proposed “Free Trade Area of the Middle East. ”

WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO WORK IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE AND CIVIL SOCIETY OF IRAQ AND TO SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATIC FORCES

1. We commit ourselves to organize a series of fact-finding missions to Iraq in collaboration with the civil society organizations already working on the ground in order to establish contacts with as many democratic Iraqi organizations as possible, with the possibility of working towards a conference on war and occupation in Baghdad.

2. We commit ourselves to prepare the conditions to participate in the construction of one or more Occupation Watch Centers in Iraq. The goals will be to function as a monitoring and information center on the military occupation and any US-appointed government, including documentation of possible war crimes and other violations of human and democratic rights. They will also include monitoring the role of foreign companies and war profiteers in Iraq.

3. We commit ourselves to developing multiple methods of engaging directly with Iraqis, including mass delegations to Iraq, with the goal of establishing broad ties between Iraqi organizations and individuals, and glob al civil society, particularly the anti-war, anti-globalization and World Social Forum movements. We also commit ourselves to creating a new global Iraq information website, as well as other means of coordinating information and resources.

4. Based on the proposals of the Turkish, Japanese, South African and Latin American movements, we commit ourselves to building an International People’s Tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators of the Iraq war and occupation, to be held in several countries with a team of international prosecutors and judges.

5. We call for an international boycott of US products on 4 July 2004, the United States independence day and support other initiatives to boycott US products.

PLAN OF ACTION ON GLOBALIZATION AND MILITARISM
We endorse the call from the Hemispheric and Global Assembly Against the FTAA and the WTO for a week of action against the WTO during its ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico. In particular, we urge peace and people’s organizations to mobilize on September 9 against the WTO and on September 13 against globalization and war. We endorse the call from the recent Chiapas conference for a “targeted boycott” of Coke, McDonalds, Texaco, CNN, and Fox during this week of protest.

We condemn the growing McCarthyite atmosphere being fostered in the US by the Bush government. We call for a “World Says No to Bush” campaign to culminate during the Republican convention in New York in September 2004. Th is campaign would aim to mobilize millions worldwide in a global referendum designed to undermine the legitimacy of “Emperor” Bush.

We call for a strategic focus on the proliferation of US military bases around the world. We commit ourselves to working for a global day of action against such bases in the first half of 2004 to be coordinated by the Asian Peace Alliance.

Noting the worldwide escalation in military spending, we call for a global campaign for general disarmament. We extend an invitation to peace and disarmament groups not represented at the Jakarta conference to contact our network to facilitate coordinated initiatives, which could include a global day of action.

We endorse a day of action against corporate looters, particularly Halliburton and Bechtel as well as their subsidiaries. This action will be coordinated through a working group of this conference.

For more information contact Herbert Docena, herbert@focusphilippines.org
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS) c/o CUSRI, Chulalongkorn University Bangkok 10330, Thailand, Tel: 662 218 7363/7364/7365/7383 Fax: 662 255 9976, http://www.focusweb.org, E-mail: N.Bullard@focusweb.org,

The Global Peace Movement Responds to the Occupation of Iraq

May 29th, 2003 - by admin

by –

http://www.focusweb.org

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (May 27, 2003) — More than a hundred representatives of what the New York Times calls the “world’s other superpower” gathered here in Jakarta from May 18-21 to plot the next moves of the global anti-war movement after the United States’ invasion of Iraq.

Delegates coming from 24 countries and representing some of the biggest anti- war coalitions and groupings all over the world emerged from intense debates and discussions with a statement of unity and a specific plan of action embodied in a document called the “Jakarta Peace Consensus.”

The consensus calls for, among other things, an immediate end to the illegal occupation of Iraq and the withholding of recognition to any regime that will be installed by the US and the United Kingdom. The consensus then sets out a list of demands regarding such issues as the use and control of Iraq’s resources, debt cancellation, the United Nations’ role and other questions surrounding post-war reconstruction and administration.

On the plight of Iraq, the “Jakarta Peace Consensus” articulates a commitment to hold an international war crimes tribunal for prosecuting the US and its allies, the sending of a series of peace missions and mass delegations to Iraq as well as the establishment of Occupation Watch Centers to monitor the US military and corporations in Iraq.

Noting the strong links between globalization to militarism, the consensus endorses the call for a week of action against the World Trade Organization (WTO) during its coming ministerial in Cancun, Mexico this September. The Consensus also plans to launch a “World Says No to Bush” campaign that will culminate during the Republican Party’s national convention in September next year.

In addition, the participants have committed to revitalize the worldwide campaign for disarmament as well as to launch a global campaign against the proliferation of US bases around the world.

As to the world’s other wars, the consensus lists and supports a number of proposals for responding to the conflicts currently raging in Palestine, Aceh, Mindanao, Chechnya, Congo, and Kashmir among others.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT
For all the death and destruction it has caused, the United States’ invasion of Iraq has given birth to a truly amazing and historic global anti-war movement. The undeniable significance of this movement was at no point more forcefully demonstrated than with the massive internationally coordinated marches that swept the globe last February 14 to 16.

The hurriedly organized conference in Jakarta was open to all and everyone who was interested was encouraged to attend. Those who attended come from some of the biggest national and regional anti-war coalitions and groupings all over the world.

This includes representatives from the Asian Peace Alliance, a broad network of anti-war organizations from all over Asia; the UK Stop the War Coalition which organized the historic demonstrations in London; United for Peace and Justice, the biggest anti-war coalition in the United States; the Italian Social Forum, key organizers of last year’s million strong anti- war march during the European Social Forum; the Istanbul No to War Coordination, which was responsible for the massive actions in Turkey; and Books not Bombs, an Australian high school student movement as well as a host of other national anti-war coalitions.

Also represented were Iraqi democracy activists, some organizers of the coming World Social Forum in India, delegates from the World March of Women, Indonesian trade unions, the South Africa Anti-Privatization Forum, Greenpeace, Focus on the Global South, and Jubilee South. Also slated to attend, but not granted Indonesian visas, were delegates from Pakistan, Palestine, and an Iraqi exile from Japan.

The participants came from the following countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, East Timor, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

After three days of intense debates and discussions, the participants hammered together the “Jakarta Peace Consensus,” a declaration of unity and a specific plan of action which they have agreed to propose to the global peace and justice movements. The Consensus will be translated to Arabic, French, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesian, Italian, etc. and will be presented to the next international anti-war meeting in Evian this May 31.

A MEETING FOR PEACE AGAINST A BACKDROP OF WAR
The conference was held in Indonesia and in a region that was incidentally increasingly becoming engulfed in war.

The conference proceedings were regularly interrupted with updates about the intensifying conflicts in Aceh and Mindanao, where both the Indonesian and Philippine governments have recently broken peace talks with secessionist movements and have just launched fresh military offensives against them.

On the first day of the conference, martial law was imposed in Aceh. In Mindanao, the government has threatened to categorize the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a “terrorist” organization and, hence, a legitimate target of US military intervention. US Special Forces are scheduled to be deployed there in the coming weeks. More than 300,000 civilians have been rendered refugees because of a renewed wave of military assaults and bombings.

The conference was held in conjunction with other meetings that have been held by the representatives of the global peace movement after the war. Last May 9, there was a Hemispheric Conference against Militarization held in Chiapas, Mexico that was attended mostly by peace activists from Latin America. Last April 25, mostly European activists gathered in Berlin, Germany.

The next big meeting of the global peace movement is scheduled on May 31, during the G-8 summit to be held in France.

QUESTIONS FOR THE MOVEMENT
The conference opened with an assessment of the current global conjuncture. This was followed by an evaluation of the peace movement, in which participants asked how the movement emerged, where it came from, what social forces constitute it, what actions it did right, which decisions were flawed, and how it can further sustain and broaden itself.

The next plenary focused on the question of Iraq, with two Iraqis pleading for the delegates not to abandon Iraq again like they supposedly did for 12 years after the first Gulf War. Afterwards, delegates from East Timor and Afghanistan, joined in by an investigative journalist who has been tracking the “war profiteers,” shared their countries’ own experiences with “reconstruction” and their lessons for Iraq.

This was followed by a discussion on how the war has, in a number of countries, led to the convergence of the peace movement with the anti- globalization and religious movements. A discussion ensued on how the movement should engage with Islamic movements that are also opposed to imperialism.

In the next panel, the delegates grappled with the issues and challenges now confronting the anti-war movement such as how to prosecute the US and its allies for its war crimes; what to do with the United Nations; how to deal with “reconstruction” and oil corporations; and what to do to prevent “future Iraqs.”

These presentations, discussions, debates, and reflections were then followed by long working meetings in which the delegates were divided into smaller groups to work on statement of unity as well as a specific, concrete, and coordinated plan of action for the coming months. The groups then reconvened in another arduous but productive session for putting out the final version of what they agreed to call the “Jakarta Peace Consensus.”

ARRESTS
The conference culminated with a march to the US embassy and the presidential palace in which five of the conference delegates were arrested by the Indonesian police. Those arrested include Nick Everett and Kylie Moon from Australia, Yong-chan Choi from South Korea, Lydia Cairncross from South Africa, Zeli Ariane, and Haris of Indonesia. They were detained overnight at the Jakarta Central Police Station.

The next day, the local Indonesian organizers accompanied the remaining international delegates to the immigration office to demand the immediate release of the delegates. The arrested foreign delegates were deported back to their countries the next day while the Indonesian was released from detention.

Focus on the Global South (FOCUS) c/o CUSRI, Chulalongkorn University Bangkok 10330, Thailand, Tel: 662 218 7363/7364/7365/7383 Fax: 662 255 9976, http://www.focusweb.org, E-mail: N.Bullard@focusweb.org.

Depleted Uranium Identified as a ‘Useful’ Radiological Weapon 60 Years Ago

May 28th, 2003 - by admin

by Dr. Doug Rokke (Major, USAR, Ret.) –

http://www.umrc.net/AfghanistanOEF.asp

Gulf War I was the first significant use of DU in combat with at least 320 tons of DU munitions contamination left on the battlefield. During 1995 and 1996, the US Marines fired DU munitions in Okinawa then did not tell the Japanese Government for over one year.

During 1995, the US military fired at least 10,000 rounds of DU munitions in Serbia followed by at least 31,000 rounds of DU munitions into Kosovo and Serbia during 1999. Astonishingly, the US Navy fired DU on Vieques, Puerto Rico to prepare for Kosovo attacks in willful violation of US and international law and have ignored adverse health effects and environmental contamination to avoid liability.

Verified DU exposure adverse health effects include:
(a) Reactive airway disease,
(b) neurological abnormalities,
(c) kidney stones and chronic kidney pain,
(d) rashes,
(e) vision degradation, night vision losses, and cataracts
(f) gum tissue problems,
(g) lymphoma,
(h) various forms of skin and organ cancer,
(i) neuro-psychological disorders,
(j) uranium in semen,
(k) sexual dysfunction, and
(l) birth defects in offspring.

Since the Gulf War, the cover-up of adverse health and environmental consequences has been the objective of US Department of Defense officials so that they can always use DU in combat. The cover-up started with the infamous Los Alamos memorandum sent to our team in Saudi Arabia during March 1991. This memo told us to be sure that we should only report our findings so DU munitions could always be used. IN OTHER WORDS: LIE!

A letter sent to General Leslie Groves during 1943 is even more disturbing. In that memorandum dated October 30, 1943, senior scientists assigned to the Manhattan Project suggested that uranium could be used as an air, water, and terrain contaminant. According to the letter sent by the Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee on the “Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon,” inhalation of uranium would result in “bronchial irritation coming on in a few hours to a few days.” This is exactly what happened to those of us who inhaled DU dust during Operation Desert Storm and in US soldiers in the Balkans.

The subcommittee went on further to state that “Beta emitting products could get into the gastrointestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. From the air, they would get on the mucus of the nose, throat, bronchi, etc. and be swallowed. The effects would be local irritation just as in the bronchi and exposures of the same amount would be required. The stomach, caecum and rectum, where contents remain for longer periods than elsewhere would be most likely affected. It is conceivable that ulcers and perforations of the gut followed by death could be produced, even without an general effects from radiation.”

Today, while medical problems increase medical care is denied or delayed for all uranium exposed casualties while United States Department of Defense and British Ministry of Defense officials continue to deny any correlation between uranium exposure and adverse health and environmental effects. They contend that they can spread radioactive waste (uranium 238) in anyone’s backyard without cleaning it up and providing medical care. Their arrogance is astonishing!

As the Army’s DU expert (1991- 1995), my conclusions and recommendations were that:
(1) All DU contamination must be removed and disposed of to prevent future exposures.
(2) Specialized radiation detection devices that detect and measure alpha particles, beta articles, x-rays, and gamma rays emissions must be acquired and distributed because standard radiation detection equipment will not detect DU contamination.
(3) Medical care must be provided to all DU casualties.
(4) All individuals who enter, climb on, or work within 25 meters of any DU contaminated equipment or terrain must wear respiratory and skin protection.
(5) DU contaminated and damaged equipment or materials should not be recycled to manufacture new materials or equipment.
(6) All individuals who may encounter DU must complete specialized education and training.

Even though Department of Defense directives have required medical care, education and training, and environmental remediation for years:
(1) Medical care has not been provided to all DU casualties.
(2) Environmental remediation has not been completed.
(3) Contaminated and damaged equipment and materials have been recycled to manufacture new products.
(4) Training and education has only been partially implemented.
(5) Contamination management procedures have not been distributed and implemented.

Today, all citizens of the world must raise a unified voice to ban the future use of depleted uranium munitions and force the leaders of those nations that have used depleted uranium munitions to recognize the immoral consequences of their actions, provide medical care to “all” DU casualties, and complete environmental remediation.

To cite a famous quotation: “AND A CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM.” But if the children are sick or dead and the citizens of the world permit this to continue, then there will not be a child who can fulfill the prophecy and lead us to peace.

USAR Major (Ret.) Doug Rokke is a former Gulf War I DU team health physicist. He is now the director of the DU Project.
The report on Afghanistan uranium measurements can be read at:
http://www.umrc.net/AfghanistanOEF.asp

The Pentagon’s Deadly Secret: DU Is a ‘Useful’ Radiological Weapon

May 28th, 2003 - by admin

by Declassified Memo to Brigadier General L. R. Groves – US War Department, October 30, 1943

Memorandum to:
Brigadier General L. R. Groves
From:
Drs. Conant, Compton, and Urey
War Department
United States Engineer Office
Manhattan District
Oak Ridge Tennessee
October 30, 1943
Declassified June 5, 1974

1. Inclosed [sic] is a summary of the report written by Drs. James B. Conant, Chairman, A. H. Compton, and H. C. Urey, comprising a Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee on the “Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon.” It is recommended that a decision be obtained from competent authority authorizing additional work pertaining to the use of radioactive materials in order that this country may be ready to use such materials or be ready to defend itself against the use of such materials. The following program is recommended:

a. Immediate formation of a research and study group at the University of Chicago under supervision of the present Area Engineer. Assignment to this group of competent individuals now working on dust and liquid disseminating munitions and field testing of chemical warfare agents from the National Defense Research Council.

b. Assignment of a competent Chemical Warfare Service officer to the Chicago Area Engineer, who would become familiar with, and work on the problem under study by the University of Chicago. This officer should be experienced in the practical use of gas warfare.

c. The responsibility of the above organization would be:

(1) Develop radiation indicating instruments, expand present facilities of the Victoreen Company, and prepare a trial order for instruments with this company.

(2) Make theoretical studies pertaining to the methods, means and equipment for disseminating radioactive material as a weapon of warfare.

(3) Conduct field tests in isolated locations, such as Clinton Engineer Works or Sanford Engineer Works, using a non-radioactive tracer material.

(4) Prepare an instruction manual for the use of, or the defense against, radioactive weapons. This manual would be similar to that now used by the Chemical Warfare Service for gas warfare.
————————————————————————
(2) As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. It has been estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person’s body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty

Two factors appear to increase the effectiveness of radioactive dust or smoke as a weapon. These are: (1) It cannot be detected by the senses; (2) It can be distributed in a dust or smoke form so finely powdered that it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging. An off-setting factor in its effectiveness as a weapon is that in a dust or smoke form the material is so finely pulverized that it takes on the characteristic of a quickly dissipating gas and is therefore subject to all the factors (such as wind) working against maintenance of high concentrations for more than a few minutes over a given area.

c. Possible Use by the Enemy.

It is felt that radioactive warfare can be used by the Germans for the following purposes:

(1) To make evacuated areas uninhabitable.

(2) To contaminate small critical areas such as rail-road yards and airports.

(3) As a radioactive poison gas to create casualties among troops.

(4) Against large cities, to promote panic, and create causalities among civilian populations.

For use in cities, it is estimated that concentrations would have to be extremely high to offset the shielding effect of buildings

Doctors Compton and Urey, two members of the Committee, felt that radioactive material may be used by the Germans against United Nations in the autumn of 1943. Dr. Conant apparently does not concur in this opinion.

d. Possible Use by the United States.

It is the recommendation of this Subcommittee that if military authorities feel that the United States should be ready to use radioactive weapons in case the enemy started it first, studies on the subject should be started immediately.

The possible military uses of radioactive materials follow:

(1) As a Terrain Contaminant. To be used in this manner, the radioactive materials would be spread on the ground either from the air or from the ground if in enemy controlled territory. In order to deny terrain to either side except at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiations

Estimates indicate that these materials could be produced by the Germans in such quantities that each four days two square miles of terrain could be contaminated to an average intensity of radiation three feet above ground level of one hundred roentgens per day. One day’s exposure (100 roentgens to the whole body) would result in temporary incapacitation, a lesser period of exposure in incapacitation to a lesser degree and one week’s exposure in death. Effects on a person would probably not be immediate, but would be delayed for days or perhaps weeks depending upon the amounts of exposure. Exposure to five to ten times the above described concentration would be incapacitating within one to two days and lethal two to five days later.

Areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the slow natural decay of the material took place, which would take weeks and even months. On a hard smooth surface some decontamination could be accomplished by flushing with water, but for average terrain no decontaminating methods are known. No effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible of development.

(2) As a Gas Warfare Instrument. The material would be ground into particles of microscopic size and would be distributed in the form of a dust or smoke or dissolved in liquid, by ground-fired projectiles, land vehicles, airplanes, or aerial bombs. In this form, it would be inhaled by personnel. The amounts necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. An infintesimal amount accumulating in a person’s body would be fatal in a few day to weeks depending upon the amount absorbed and its radioactivity. There are no known effective methods of treatment for such a casualty.

Areas so contaminated by radioactive dusts and smokes, would be dangerous as long as a high enough concentration of material could be maintained. In these forms, the materials take on the characteristics of a quickly dissipating gas and it is improbable that heavy concentrations could be maintained for more than a few minutes time over a given area. However, they can be stirred up as a fine dust from the terrain by winds, movement of vehicles or troops, etc. , and would remain a potential hazard for a long time.
These materials may also be so disposed as to be taken into the body by ingestion instead of inhalation.. Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke. Four days production could contaminate a million gallons of water to an extent that a quart drunk in one day would probably result in complete incapacitation or death in about a month’s time.

B. From Internal Sources

RESPIRATORY TRACT: Dr. Wollan has estimated that an accumulation of 10-3 curies of high-energy beta-ray active material would produce an exposure of about 100 r/day to the lungs. Unfortunately, there is no experimental data bearing directly upon the deposition of f products nor on the action of the beta-rays on the bronchial and alveolar surfaces.

Particles larger than 1µ[micron]in size are likely to be deposited in nose, trachea or bronchi and then be brought up with mucus on the walls at the rate of 1/2 – 1 cm/min. Particles smaller than 1µ [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood. The probability of the deposition of dust particles anywhere in the respiratory tract depends upon respiratory rate, particle size, chemical and physical nature, and the concentration in the atmosphere. Hence the probability of f products causing lung damage depends on all of these factors.

While only fragmentary information is available, it is felt that the injury would be manifest as bronchial irritation coming on in from a few hours to a few days, depending on the dose. It would not be immediately incapacitating except with doses in the neighborhood of 400 or more r [roentgens] per day. The most serious effect would be permanent long damage appearing months later from the persistent irradiation of retained particles, even at low daily rates.

It would seem that chemical gases could accomplish more and do it more quickly so far as the skin surfaces and lungs are concerned. The beta emitters would have more permanent effects — starting months after exposure.

GASTRO-INTESTINAL TRACT: Beta emitting f [fission] products could get into the gastro-intestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. From the air, they would get onto the mucus of the nose, throat, bronchi, etc., and be swallowed. The effects would be local irritation just as in the bronchi and exposures of the same amount would be required. The stomach, caecum, and rectum, where contents remain for longer periods than elsewhere would be most likely to be affected. It is conceivable that ulcers and perforations of the gut followed by death could be produced, even without any general effects from the radiation.

BLOOD STREAM AND TISSUES: Beta and gamma emitting fission products may be absorbed from the lungs or G-I tract into the blood and so distributed throughout the body.

This document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States within the meaning of the Espionage Act, U.S.C. 50: 31 and 32. Its transmission or the revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.

US Secretly Planned to US DU as a Radiological Weapon for the Past 60 Years

May 28th, 2003 - by admin

by Declassified Memo to Brigadier General L. R. Groves – US War Department, October 30, 1943

Memorandum to:
Brigadier General L. R. Groves
From:
Drs. Conant, Compton, and Urey
War Department
United States Engineer Office
Manhattan District
Oak Ridge Tennessee
October 30, 1943
Declassified June 5, 1974

1. Inclosed [sic] is a summary of the report written by Drs. James B. Conant, Chairman, A. H. Compton, and H. C. Urey, comprising a Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee on the “Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon.” It is recommended that a decision be obtained from competent authority authorizing additional work pertaining to the use of radioactive materials in order that this country may be ready to use such materials or be ready to defend itself against the use of such materials. The following program is recommended:

a. Immediate formation of a research and study group at the University of Chicago under supervision of the present Area Engineer. Assignment to this group of competent individuals now working on dust and liquid disseminating munitions and field testing of chemical warfare agents from the National Defense Research Council.

b. Assignment of a competent Chemical Warfare Service officer to the Chicago Area Engineer, who would become familiar with, and work on the problem under study by the University of Chicago. This officer should be experienced in the practical use of gas warfare.

c. The responsibility of the above organization would be:

(1) Develop radiation indicating instruments, expand present facilities of the Victoreen Company, and prepare a trial order for instruments with this company.

(2) Make theoretical studies pertaining to the methods, means and equipment for disseminating radioactive material as a weapon of warfare.

(3) Conduct field tests in isolated locations, such as Clinton Engineer Works or Sanford Engineer Works, using a non-radioactive tracer material.

(4) Prepare an instruction manual for the use of, or the defense against, radioactive weapons. This manual would be similar to that now used by the Chemical Warfare Service for gas warfare.
————————————————————————
(2) As a gas warfare instrument the material would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicles, or aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. The amount necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. It has been estimated that one millionth of a gram accumulating in a person’s body would be fatal. There are no known methods of treatment for such a casualty

Two factors appear to increase the effectiveness of radioactive dust or smoke as a weapon. These are: (1) It cannot be detected by the senses; (2) It can be distributed in a dust or smoke form so finely powdered that it will permeate a standard gas mask filter in quantities large enough to be extremely damaging. An off-setting factor in its effectiveness as a weapon is that in a dust or smoke form the material is so finely pulverized that it takes on the characteristic of a quickly dissipating gas and is therefore subject to all the factors (such as wind) working against maintenance of high concentrations for more than a few minutes over a given area.

c. Possible Use by the Enemy.

It is felt that radioactive warfare can be used by the Germans for the following purposes:

(1) To make evacuated areas uninhabitable.

(2) To contaminate small critical areas such as rail-road yards and airports.

(3) As a radioactive poison gas to create casualties among troops.

(4) Against large cities, to promote panic, and create causalities among civilian populations.

For use in cities, it is estimated that concentrations would have to be extremely high to offset the shielding effect of buildings

Doctors Compton and Urey, two members of the Committee, felt that radioactive material may be used by the Germans against United Nations in the autumn of 1943. Dr. Conant apparently does not concur in this opinion.

d. Possible Use by the United States.

It is the recommendation of this Subcommittee that if military authorities feel that the United States should be ready to use radioactive weapons in case the enemy started it first, studies on the subject should be started immediately.

The possible military uses of radioactive materials follow:

(1) As a Terrain Contaminant. To be used in this manner, the radioactive materials would be spread on the ground either from the air or from the ground if in enemy controlled territory. In order to deny terrain to either side except at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiations

Estimates indicate that these materials could be produced by the Germans in such quantities that each four days two square miles of terrain could be contaminated to an average intensity of radiation three feet above ground level of one hundred roentgens per day. One day’s exposure (100 roentgens to the whole body) would result in temporary incapacitation, a lesser period of exposure in incapacitation to a lesser degree and one week’s exposure in death. Effects on a person would probably not be immediate, but would be delayed for days or perhaps weeks depending upon the amounts of exposure. Exposure to five to ten times the above described concentration would be incapacitating within one to two days and lethal two to five days later.

Areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the slow natural decay of the material took place, which would take weeks and even months. On a hard smooth surface some decontamination could be accomplished by flushing with water, but for average terrain no decontaminating methods are known. No effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible of development.

(2) As a Gas Warfare Instrument. The material would be ground into particles of microscopic size and would be distributed in the form of a dust or smoke or dissolved in liquid, by ground-fired projectiles, land vehicles, airplanes, or aerial bombs. In this form, it would be inhaled by personnel. The amounts necessary to cause death to a person inhaling the material is extremely small. An infintesimal amount accumulating in a person’s body would be fatal in a few day to weeks depending upon the amount absorbed and its radioactivity. There are no known effective methods of treatment for such a casualty.

Areas so contaminated by radioactive dusts and smokes, would be dangerous as long as a high enough concentration of material could be maintained. In these forms, the materials take on the characteristics of a quickly dissipating gas and it is improbable that heavy concentrations could be maintained for more than a few minutes time over a given area. However, they can be stirred up as a fine dust from the terrain by winds, movement of vehicles or troops, etc. , and would remain a potential hazard for a long time.
These materials may also be so disposed as to be taken into the body by ingestion instead of inhalation.. Reservoirs or wells would be contaminated or food poisoned with an effect similar to that resulting from inhalation of dust or smoke. Four days production could contaminate a million gallons of water to an extent that a quart drunk in one day would probably result in complete incapacitation or death in about a month’s time.

B. From Internal Sources

RESPIRATORY TRACT: Dr. Wollan has estimated that an accumulation of 10-3 curies of high-energy beta-ray active material would produce an exposure of about 100 r/day to the lungs. Unfortunately, there is no experimental data bearing directly upon the deposition of f products nor on the action of the beta-rays on the bronchial and alveolar surfaces.

Particles larger than 1µ[micron]in size are likely to be deposited in nose, trachea or bronchi and then be brought up with mucus on the walls at the rate of 1/2 – 1 cm/min. Particles smaller than 1µ [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood. The probability of the deposition of dust particles anywhere in the respiratory tract depends upon respiratory rate, particle size, chemical and physical nature, and the concentration in the atmosphere. Hence the probability of f products causing lung damage depends on all of these factors.

While only fragmentary information is available, it is felt that the injury would be manifest as bronchial irritation coming on in from a few hours to a few days, depending on the dose. It would not be immediately incapacitating except with doses in the neighborhood of 400 or more r [roentgens] per day. The most serious effect would be permanent long damage appearing months later from the persistent irradiation of retained particles, even at low daily rates.

It would seem that chemical gases could accomplish more and do it more quickly so far as the skin surfaces and lungs are concerned. The beta emitters would have more permanent effects — starting months after exposure.

GASTRO-INTESTINAL TRACT: Beta emitting f [fission] products could get into the gastro-intestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. From the air, they would get onto the mucus of the nose, throat, bronchi, etc., and be swallowed. The effects would be local irritation just as in the bronchi and exposures of the same amount would be required. The stomach, caecum, and rectum, where contents remain for longer periods than elsewhere would be most likely to be affected. It is conceivable that ulcers and perforations of the gut followed by death could be produced, even without any general effects from the radiation.

BLOOD STREAM AND TISSUES: Beta and gamma emitting fission products may be absorbed from the lungs or G-I tract into the blood and so distributed throughout the body.

This document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States within the meaning of the Espionage Act, U.S.C. 50: 31 and 32. Its transmission or the revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.

An Affordable Proposal for Stability in Iraq: A Job for Every Iraqi

May 28th, 2003 - by admin

by by Steven Shafarman –

http://www.progress.org/2003/cd29.htm

The United States has a duty, we all agree, to help the Iraqi people rebuild as a peaceful, stable, and democratic nation. At the same time, the Bush administration is under enormous pressure to minimize spending for Iraq’s reconstruction and to get quick results so US forces can come home.

Everyone knows it will not be easy. After massive looting, weeks of war, and decades of oppression, many Iraqis are hurt, hungry, homeless, jobless. There are ethnic rivalries, distrust of former Baath party officials, self-proclaimed “leaders” competing for turf, and doubts about the role and intentions of US forces. Democratic government requires a vast civic infrastructure: laws, courts, police, schools, banks, postal system, communications media, and more. These institutions must be created and run by Iraqis; even the appearance of being imposed or controlled by the United States is sure to raise problems.

So how do we help the Iraqi people build a new Iraq? The simplest and most cost-effective approach is to hire them to do it. All of them.

For the past few weeks, US officials have been paying $20 — about half of the prevailing wage, which is $35 a month — to Iraqi civil service workers who return to work. When that began, retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner estimated that 1.5 million to 2.5 million people are eligible. But what about the rest?

Iraq has a population of 24 million, although 42 percent are children; just 14 million are adults. So $20 a month for every adult Iraqi would cost less than $3.5 billion a year. Iraq’s oil royalties are estimated to be $10 to $15 billion a year; that, plus whatever the United States contributes, means plenty of money for a basic income along with substantial reconstruction.

The concept of a guaranteed basic income is not new. Versions have been proposed in the United States by political and economic leaders as diverse as Richard Nixon, Martin Luther King Jr., George McGovern, Milton Friedman, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In South Africa last year, a government commission recommended giving a monthly “basic income grant” of roughly $10 to every person age 7 or older ˜ just enough to ensure that people with no other income can afford to eat, making it possible for them to be productive in school and at work.

Something like that already exists in Alaska. Since the early 1980s, some of the royalties from oil production go into the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invests the money and pays an annual dividend to every resident. (The dividend in 2002 was $1,540.) The fund makes explicit the fact that Alaska’s oil belongs not to the government but to the people ˜ just as President Bush, Colin Powell, and other government officials have said Iraq’s oil belongs to the Iraqi people.

The basic income would promote local markets for food and shelter, and lessen reliance on national or international relief agencies. And it would ensure that every citizen could afford the time to participate in the hard work of democracy ˜ staying informed, debating issues, choosing candidates, voting, holding office. For every Iraqi, sharing directly in oil royalties would promote a sense of national unity and identity, reducing ethnic tensions and instability.

Even though basic income is universal and unconditional, it is not a socialist idea. It preserves markets and private property; indeed, it would strengthen markets by providing everyone with the means to participate. It would supplement, not replace, income from jobs and other sources, leaving intact the incentives to work, earn, save, and invest.

None of the oil-producing countries in the Middle East is a democracy or a free market. In every one, oil royalties go to some ruling elite and there are serious inequalities, especially involving women. The basic income approach would not only help Iraq become the first oil-producing free market democracy in the region, but also a role model for its neighbors.

The simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and common sense of this approach serve to call the administration’s bluff: Did we really mean to liberate Iraq? Did we really mean the country’s oil belongs to its people? Or what was the war really about?

Steven Shafarman is president of the Citizen Policies Institute. This article appeared in The Progress Report, an independent nonpartisan news daily. http://www.progress.org. This article can be viewed at
http://www.progress.org/2003/cd29.htm

New Zealand’s Trade Unions Oppose War on Iraq

May 28th, 2003 - by admin

by Council of Trade Unions –

http://www.union.org.nz

AUCKLAND (December 12, 2002) — The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) National Affiliates Council, representing more than 300,000 union members, has resolved to actively oppose war on Iraq.

In a resolution the CTU National Affiliates Council has:

· Deplored the cynical linkage by the US government of support for the war with free trade negotiations with the US;

· Condemned any pressure that is or may be brought to bear on New Zealand to drop its nuclear free policy in exchange for free trade negotiations with the US;

· Called on the New Zealand government to support strengthening and implementation of existing treaties and conventions for the elimination of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

· Called on the New Zealand government to actively work towards mandated international inspection of all countries developing and producing weapons of mass destruction.

· Called for every effort to be made for a long-term peaceful resolution of the current situation

And has called on unions to;

· Support and participate in any rallies and community activities against the war.
· Work to increase understanding of the current international situation amongst their members.

Water under Siege: The Crisis in Southern Iraq

May 22nd, 2003 - by admin

by By the Center for Economic and Social Rights –

http://www.cesr.org/iraq/docs/waterundersiege.pdf.

(April 5, 2003) – In urban centers throughout southern and central Iraq, millions of civilians are facing disease and possible death due to inadequate access to water as a result of the US-British invasion.

In Basra, 100,000 children are threatened with severe illness due to a crippled water treatment plant, according to UNICEF. As American troops advance on Baghdad, the city of five million has lost electric power and the population there also faces a pubic health crisis from water-borne disease.
International law on this matter is unambiguous – depriving people of life-sustaining resources is a war crime.

While President Bush has warned Iraqis not to commit war crimes, Anglo-American forces at the gates of Baghdad risk committing war crimes themselves against a population that is half children.

Water is fundamental to life. No one can survive without sufficient water for drinking, cooking, washing, and general hygiene. For this reason, international law recognizes access to safe water as a basic human right – “indispensable for leading a life in human dignity” – as well as an integral component of the rights to life, health, and housing.
The current invasion of Iraq by the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia poses a grave threat to the right to water of Iraq’s 24 million inhabitants, almost half of them children under the age of 15.
Anglo-American military forces have already laid siege to numerous urban centers in southern and central Iraq, disrupting electrical, water and sanitation systems that sustain millions of civilians. With the approach of summer, when temperatures in this region regularly exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the likelihood of water-borne disease epidemics is alarmingly high.

In Basra, the Anglo-American blockade deprived one million residents of access to safe drinking water for almost two weeks. UNICEF warned that “there are 100,000 children in Basra at risk for severe fever and death because one water treatment plant stopped functioning.” The regional spokesperson for UNICEF described a “most dire” humanitarian crisis:

“The situation is leading to a rise in disease and we’ve already seen some incidents of cholera now in the south, as well as what we call Black Water Fever, which is extremely deadly if you’re under 5…[The cholera outbreak] is of extreme concern to us because not only does it show that there’s been a major impact due to unclean water in the area, but also our ability to get in and reach these people in the middle of a combat zone is extremely limited right now.”

The public health crisis in Basra provides a window into the possible fate of Iraqi civilians in Nasiriyah (population 560,200), Najaf (585,600), Kerbala (572,300), Hilla (548,000), Amara (351,100), and Baghdad (5.8 million). Civilians in Baghdad are especially vulnerable given expectations of intense aerial bombardment, a tight blockade, and fierce urban combat aimed at toppling the Iraqi regime. On April 3, power was cut to 90% of Baghdad–the result of damage to the Al-Doura power station during the American capture of Saddam Airport.

United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross have alerted the international community to the growing water crisis throughout southern and central Iraq. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that “humanitarian assistance would have to be provided by the United States and its coalition partners in those areas under their control, consistent with their overall responsibility under international law.”

Before the war, US and British leaders assured their publics that “liberating” Iraq would be a quick and clean military operation, relying on high-tech precision weapons to minimize civilian casualties. The Iraqi people, especially the long-suffering Shi’a majority in the South, were expected to welcome Anglo-American forces. This scenario has not materialized and the Pentagon has called for an additional 120,000 American soldiers to supplement 250,000 already in the Persian Gulf.
It now appears likely that Anglo-American forces will continue blockading cities in southern and central Iraq in preparation for direct urban combat. If as a result electricity is disrupted for extended periods, Iraq’s entire structure of civilian life support – public health, water and sanitation, and food distribution – will collapse, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.

The Anglo-American military strategy would therefore impose disproportionate costs on civilian life and property in violation of the most fundamental principles of law and humanity. Political and military personnel on all sides of the conflict who issue or carry out illegal orders are subject to prosecution for war crimes.

In fulfillment of their lawful duties, the Center for Economic and Social Rights urges all warring parties–the US, UK, Australia, and Iraq–and all organs of the United Nations–the Security Council, General Assembly, and Secretariat–immediately to establish and respect:

• A cease-fire to enable impartial humanitarian agencies, independent of any military forces, to restore and maintain life-sustaining services to Iraqi civilians.

• Ongoing humanitarian corridors to enable aid agencies to ensure the survival of vulnerable civilian populations throughout the conflict.

• Withdrawal of Anglo-American military forces to positions held before March 19, 2003, to allow the United Nations to fulfill its mandate of resolving the Iraq crisis in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

A full copy of “SPECIAL REPORT: WATER UNDER SIEGE IN IRAQ: US/UK Military Forces Risk Committing War Crimes by Depriving Civilians of Safe Water” may be found at http://www.cesr.org/iraq/docs/waterundersiege.pdf.

Forbidden Fruit: The Many Hidden Ways that Oil Lubricates Our Lives

May 22nd, 2003 - by admin

by Jeremy Smith – The Ecologist

http://www.theecologist.org

(April 22, 2003) — Unperturbed by the children’s restless murmuring, Olive and Petra begin their routine. Slowly raising the lid of the gigantic box between them, they turn to face the class. ‘Welcome,’ they intone together with well-rehearsed awe, ‘to the magic suitcase.’

One by one, the two women lift an improbable alphabet of products out from the case – Aspirin, balloons, candles, dentures, an electric blanket, a fishing rod, golf balls, hair dye, insect repellent, jet fuel, kerosene, lipstick, a mop, nail polish…

‘Can anyone tell me what connects these objects?’ Olive asks. Petra meanwhile reaches back into the box, pulling out office stationery, piano keys, quoits, rubber cement, a surfboard, a toilet seat, an umbrella, vitamin capsules, water skis, a Xerox machine, a yogurt pot. Finally (at last impressing the jaded class), a miniature Zeppelin floats silently up from the depths of the box.
As the children’s eyes follow the diminutive dirigible up towards the strip lighting, Olive steps forth. ‘The answer,’ she gushes proudly, ‘is that all these products are made with OIL.’

Slick Sisters
Olive and Petra, and many hundreds like them, work for a Desk and Derrick club. The Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs was set up in 1957 with a mission to ‘enhance and foster a positive image to the global community by promoting the contribution of the petroleum, energy and allied industries through education, by using all resources available’. And how does it do this? The promotional literature makes it clear. Like the better known sisters of Avon, Ann Summers and Aloe Vera, Desk and Derrick clubs rely on ‘the undaunted efforts of a group of determined women’.

As the women explain to classes and boardrooms across the US and Canada, the human race is dependent upon oil to a scale that few people appreciate. We are all aware of the petrol we put in our cars, and the electricity that powers our lives. Many of us realise that the plastics of which so much is made, and in which even more products are wrapped, comes originally from oil. A committed few even make choices on this knowledge – from returning excess packaging to supermarkets to refusing to put Esso’s belligerent tiger in their tank. But hardly any of us really understand the extent to which oil seeps into our lives. This is the great magic trick of the global economy, far greater than the oleaginous cornucopia contained within Olive and Petra’s suitcase. It is the trick of making the real costs disappear.

Of course it is not really magic as such, but an illusion. We see what we want to see; or, to be more precise, we don’t see what the magicians don’t want us to see. Unfortunately, the members of this particular magic circle are the richest men in the world – men who control most of its resources, politicians and, by extension, us.

Trick or Treat?
Here’s a simple trick you can try at home. Take an apple, any apple. Look at it, turn it over in your hands. Close your eyes and visualise the apple growing on a tree far, far away.

As the apple grows it is repeatedly sprayed with toxic pesticides (most of which are derived from oil) by a man using machinery made at least in part of plastic, who wears PVC gloves, plastic goggles and protective nylon clothing.
Once picked, the apple has to travel – by air, sea or land – to the store from where it will be sold. Whatever the means of transport,
it is propelled by oil, which all the while pollutes the atmosphere in which the apple grew.

Once at the store the apple may well be packaged in polythene, polystyrene, or some other oil derivative, for presentation on the shelf. The shelf too is plastic. The basket you carry the apple in is often plastic; the card you swipe at the till, the ‘rubber’ of the conveyor belt, the nylon clothing of the cashier, the bags you put your shopping in – all plastic. Driving home in your car (look at the dashboard, the seats, the seat belts, the carpet, the steering wheel, the fibreglass body), you emit yet more pollution into the air.
Finally, you arrive home, sit back and bite into your apple – a valuable part of the five daily pieces of fruit and vegetables needed to keep the doctors, for now at least, away.
It was not always this way. Although, ever since its discovery we have exploited oil in every way we can. Ancient Egyptians coated their mummies in it to preserve them. They are also said to have paved their roads with asphalt. A Roman general smeared pigs in oil and, having ignited them, drove them into an enemy camp. According to the Babylonians, Noah used pitch to caulk the Ark. And by the third century BC the Chinese were filtering oil through cloth to use the end product as a balm for their skin.

Now we are fast becoming not the cybernetic android so beloved of dystopian sci-fi, but his cheaper, plasticky cousin. Unhappy with our looks, we enhance our breasts, calfs and pecs with plastic. Embarrassed by our baldness, we weave nylon fibres into our denuded scalps. Unable to hear? Plastic ear piece. Short of sight, or just unhappy with the color of your iris? Slip in a contact lens. Didn’t brush your teeth with the oil-based toothpaste on your plastic toothbrush with its nylon bristles? Not to worry, we’ve got plastic dentures so like the real thing no one need ever know. And if your heart should slow, your limbs weaken or your bladder begin to take on a will of its own, then sit back as the plastic pacemakers, prosthetics and catheter tubes take over.

The world we are moulded into today was born in the 1920s with the development of the petrochemical industry. Manufacturers took advantage of the abundance of hydrocarbons at petroleum refineries to develop the raw materials for the plastinated luxuries we now ‘need’.

Notably, this was at the same time (and thanks mainly to the same people who developed the plastics industry) that the only product to have more uses than oil, but with none of the toxic side effects, was banned. That product was hemp – the oil of which can drive cars, create plastics or be made into soap, the fibres of which can be turned into paper or clothes, and the seed of which is one of the most nutritious substances known. (Oh, and growing hemp counterracts climate change, too.)

Thanks, however, to the efforts of DuPont and William Randolph Hearst (with their respective vested interests in the plastics and paper industries), the use of hemp (which one would have to smoke around three tons of to get high) was outlawed, along with its more potent sister marijuana, under drug prohibition laws.

In place of the drug that was not a drug, we drill ever deeper into the veins of the earth. We pull the oil up not with syringes, but with derricks (named after an infamous 17th century hangman because of their resemblance to gallows). We cannot imagine a world without oil, deny the possibility of weaning ourselves off it, and will break the law – and even kill – to ensure a constant, cheap supply of the stuff. We are, every single one of us, addicted to oil.

Jeremy Smith is Deputy Editor of The Ecologist http://www.theecologist.org

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